Accomplishments of the Duke’s Daughter, Vol. 6

By Reia and Haduki Futaba. Released in Japan as “Koushaku Reijou no Tashinami” by Kadokawa Books. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Andria Cheng.

It would be more accurate to call this volume, and apparently the two following it, “Accomplishments of the Duchess”, as we now begin an extended side story telling us about Iris’ mother Merellis. Featured in the first few books of the main series as a caring mother who seemed the sort to speak with her mouth behind a fan, the final book in the series showed us that behind all that etiquette is a dangerous swordswoman who will cut you down as soon as look at you. I said I wanted to hear her story, and it turns out iris does as well. Merellis’ past had never been revealed to her daughter, so Iris asks and Merellis tells up about her childhood, starting with the tragic murder of her mother by bandits, which sets her on a path leading to revenge and… well, revenge. What else does one need? the book was excellent, but fans of the series who loved it for the economic theory might be a bit thrown off.

After her mother’s funeral, Merellis is consumed with rage and a desire to take revenge on the bandits who did this to her family. Her father decides to train her in the sword to at least try to distract her, and, although from her own perspective the gains she makes and slow and inadequate, it’s actually rather terrifying how quickly she takes to it. Soon she is Mer, impersonating her own body double and rising through other guards, then knights, rapidly becoming an amazing military commander. Unfortunately, when all your life is dedicated to one goal, there are obstacles that are hard to overcome, such as your father getting his own revenge for his wife’s death and leaving you with no purpose in life. If only there was a guy her own age she could talk to about this…

As I said before, this feels like a completely different story. Merellis is not a meathead swordswoman, and very much shows she can take charge on a battlefield, but the book shows her worldview gradually opening up, as she goes from “I only care about my revenge” to “now what the hell do I do?” to “I want to protect my family” and then to “I want to protect others around me so that they do not suffer as I have”. At her side, though they’re not a couple yet (the two haven’t even hit puberty by the end of this first novel in the subseries, though the inner artwork may not have gotten that message) is Louis, son of the Prime Minster and Merellis’ future husband. She’s fairly smitten with him by the end of the book, but they also fight,as he tries to get her to see the bigger picture.

I suspect the next book will feature a lot more nobility and gowns and less fighting, but who knows? Merellis was clearly a little hellion until she got married (and then became a big hellion). This is a great book, but it’s nothing like its parent series, except maybe as it regards the greater good and how to move towards it.

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